US Open - only #1 players win (unlike any other major)

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by drwood, Jul 27, 2009.

  1. drwood

    drwood Hall of Fame

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    If you look at winners of all the slams starting in 1985, the US Open is clearly the one that only great players can win...if you win the US Open, you will be #1 at some point in your career. None of the other slams can say that. Lets look:

    Australian champs since 1985:
    Edberg, Edberg, Wilander, Lendl, Lendl, Becker, Courier, Courier, Sampras, Agassi, Becker, Sampras, Korda, Kafelnikov, Agassi, Agassi, T. Johansson, Agassi, Federer, Safin, Federer, Federer, Djokovic, Nadal
    Of these 24, 21 (87.5%) became #1 (only Korda, Johansson and Djokovic didn't -- there was no Aus Open in 86)

    French champs since 1985:
    Wilander, Lendl, Lendl, Wilander, Chang, Gomez, Courier, Courier, Bruguera, Bruguera, Muster, Kafelnikov, Kuerten, Moya, Agassi, Kuerten, Kuerten, A. Costa, Fererro, Gaudio, Nadal, Nadal, Nadal, Nadal, Federer
    Of these 25, 19 (76%) became #1 (Chang, Gomez, Bruguera, Costa, Gaudio didn't)

    Wimbledon champs since 1985:
    Becker, Becker, Cash, Edberg, Becker, Edberg, Stich, Agassi, Sampras, Sampras, Sampras, Krajicek, Sampras, Sampras, Sampras, Sampras, Ivanisevic, Hewitt, Federer, Federer, Federer, Federer, Federer, Nadal, Federer
    Of these 25, 21 (84%) became #1 (only Cash, Stich, Krajicek and Ivanisevic never did)

    US Open since 1985:
    Lendl, Lendl, Lendl, Wilander, Becker, Sampras, Edberg, Edberg, Sampras, Agassi, Sampras, Sampras, Rafter, Rafter, Agassi, Safin, Hewitt, Sampras, Roddick, Federer, Federer, Federer, Federer, Federer
    All of these 25 became #1 in their careers

    Moral: There are really only a few people who can win the US Open this year (Federer, Nadal, Roddick, and then people who maybe could become #1 in the future -- i.e. Murray, Djokovic -- and of course Safin if he's playing well -- which he won't). If you don't think someone can be #1 in the world, don't pick them to win.

    Would be interested to hear other thoughts; hater-free, please.
     
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  2. whistleway

    whistleway Semi-Pro

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    Why 1985?...
     
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  3. nfor304

    nfor304 Banned

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    pretty interesting stat there
     
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  4. drwood

    drwood Hall of Fame

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    Wanted to do 25 years...plus the Australian Open wasn't really taken seriously by top pros until 1983.
     
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  5. Breaker

    Breaker Legend

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    Grass specialists and clay specialists don't get as many tournaments throughout the year to gain points as guys who can win on hard courts like the US Open.

    Ivanisevic, Krajicek, Cash, and Stich were relatively average on hard court and clay.

    All of the non-number one Roland Garros champs were only good on clay except for Chang, but even then he was never the top hard court player in the world at any point.

    Aussie Open Rebound Ace provided a few strange results as well as the tournament's position on the calender..and Djokovic - the only one of the non-number 1's who didn't win on Rebound Ace - still will have chances to reach number 1 at some point and is a threat for the US Open title unlike Korda or Johannson..

    My moral - if you're the best hardcourt player in the world, more often than not you will be number 1 due to percentage of important hard court tournaments..

    Also the game on the US Open surface translates well to grass and more often than not also will work on the Aussie Open surface as well, whilst it wasn't the case the other way around.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2009
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  6. Xuxa Kuerten

    Xuxa Kuerten Rookie

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    I guess there are some factors:
    1. Hardcourts are the predominant type of court. So a player that is good at it will probably get more points during the season.
    2. Clay, 'till very recently, was the most specialized type of court. But its season is relativelly short, so the claycourters, who tend to have less success on other fields, generally fail to reach the highest spot.
    3. Grass season is the shortest of all, and it's not (specially after 2001) so different than the hardcourts. So it doesn't tend to be won by specialists that would face problems during the rest of the season.
    4. I think that we may see more "surprises" during the beginning of the season, because many players tend to be on their peaks only after the Australian Open. Korda and Johansson victories where kinda unexpected against #1 Rios and Safin. Maybe they are just "points off the curve" (does this expression exist in english?).
     
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  7. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    I agree with most everythign that has been said, but clay isn't quite the minor surface that it's being made out to be.

    There are a LOT of clay court tournaments. In fact, there is a clay court tournament during many weeks when there are hardcourt tournaments.

    So, aside from the actual clay season in the spring, a player could pile up a lot of points by playing mostly on clay. During the early hardcourt season (After the AO through Miami) there are main-tour clay-court events going on simultaneously (maybe not every week, but many weeks). During the summer hardcourt season, there are clay court events being held alongside the hardcourt events. And, even in the fall during indoor season, there are still clay court events.

    True, other than the main clay court season leading up to the French, many of these clay events are smaller, but they are main tour events nonetheless (not challengers or futures).

    But, of course, top players who are attempting to reach the top spot, even if they are clay courters or simply prefer clay courts, will probably play the bigger non-clay events rather than the simultaneous clay events.

    I'm just saying that unlike players who may excel on grass, clay court "specialists" really do have an opportunity to play a lot of clay events.
     
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  8. drwood

    drwood Hall of Fame

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    Rios wasn't #1 when Korda destroyed him in the 98 Aus Open (and Korda had beaten Sampras at the 97 US Open). Korda actually had a chance to become #1 a few months later, but lost in a Master series event. Rios became #1 before the French that year.

    The only real outlier was Johansson, a match that most believe Safin should have won...he had beaten Sampras and Haas to get to the final, but didn't take the final seriously enough -- whatever the excuse, credit to Johansson.
     
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  9. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    I think more telling than the US Open #1 stat, is the fact that the USO has (correct me if I'm wrong) the least number of "one-Slam wonders".

    Players who win the USO win another Slam (not necessarily a different Slam, but another Slam, including an additional USO), moreso than winners of other Slams.

    Since 1969, the USO has only two one "one Slam wonders" - Manual Orantes and Andy Roddick.

    The Austrialian Open has had 7, the French Open 10, and Wimbledon 4.

    From 1985 (OPs date, reflecting his observation that that is when the AO started to be treated seriously by a large number of players), the USO has had one one Slam wonders, while the AO has had 3 (including the still-active Djokovic), the French Open 7, and Wimbledon 3.

    Australian Open

    Djokovic (could change obviously)
    Johansson
    Korda
    Teacher
    Gerulaitis
    Tanner
    Edmonson

    French Open

    Gaudio
    Ferrero
    Costa
    Moya
    Muster
    Gomez
    Chang
    Noah
    Panatta
    Gimeno

    Wimbledon

    Ivanesvic
    Krajicek
    Stich
    Cash

    US Open

    Orantes
    Roddick
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2009
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  10. Breaker

    Breaker Legend

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    ^^ Roddick only has one slam, still two is a lot less than the others.
     
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  11. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    Thanks. I knew I'd miss someone scanning the Slam winner table. I'll edit my post.
     
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  12. Xuxa Kuerten

    Xuxa Kuerten Rookie

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    Sorry, I didn't make myself clear. I wasn't trying to say that Rios and Safin were #1 at the time of their defeats on those finals, but to affirm that they were (or they would be) on that place at some time of their careers, as you've pointed out in your first post. My point was to enhance the fact that those finalists were two of the most unstable former #1 players of the open era. And Johansson was truly the outlier (tks for the word). His highest ranking was #7, the second-lowest among those who won a major on your list (Stich reached #9, Gomez reached #4, Coria, #3, Gaudio, #5, Djokovic, #3, Ivanisevic, #2, Krajicek, #4, Costa, #6, Cash, #4, Chang, #2, Bruguera, #3, Korda, #2, Djokovic, #3).
     
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  13. drwood

    drwood Hall of Fame

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    Actually, Stich reached year-end #2 in 1993 when he beat Sampras at the Masters tournament, so that means Johansson is the lowest Slam winner...makes sense. Coria never won a slam. I agree with you about Johansson and Korda.
     
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  14. backhand winner

    backhand winner Banned

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    So many tournaments are played on decoturf. It's no surprise that the US Open is such a factor on who is number 1. But I think the modern day Australian Open is just as big of a factor since they switched to plexicushion. A surface similar to Decoturf. But the most interesting tennis is played on clay and grass. ;)
     
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  15. Xuxa Kuerten

    Xuxa Kuerten Rookie

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    Yeah, you're absolutely correct. I've always thought that Stich reached #2 spot, but then I've checked the atp website (http://www.atpworldtour.com/Tennis/Players/St/M/Michael-Stich.aspx) and they showed that his highest ranking was only #9. Then I've researched on Wikipedia and it showed his #2 position in 1993. I've preferred to stay with the "official" position. Actually if you navigate through the "rankings history" part it will show #2 as his peak position, though. I don't know why that info is incorrect. Oh, about Coria, I'm sorry again. It was always so obvious to me that he should have won that 2004 RG that I've mistakenly put him on that list.
     
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  16. ChanceEncounter

    ChanceEncounter Professional

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    A few things:

    #1 Clay constitutes a very sizable chunk of the season. Roughly 35-40% of the available points come from clay. A good clay court specialist can do very well just by being average at the hardcourts and grass.

    #2 The argument is decent, but it doesn't take into consideration that many of the champions at the Aussie Open, also on hard, haven't been that great. In fact, the Aussie Open seems to regularly have huge upsets and deep runs by relative one-hit wonders.

    The point is, regardless of how the ATP is shaped, the US Open seems to be the big event that is most indicative of overall success on the tour. Thus, since the tour is how it is, the US Open may, in fact, be the best overall indicator of how good a tennis player is.
     
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  17. jelle v

    jelle v Hall of Fame

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    But what does this prove? In my opinion it only proves that the French Open is the hardest to win..
     
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  18. diamondback

    diamondback Rookie

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    roddick wasn't #1 when he won the open
     
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  19. drwood

    drwood Hall of Fame

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    He became #1 by winning it (Sampras or Agassi wasn't #1 when they won it the first time either)....that's kind of my point, if you don't think that someone will become #1 during their career, they're not going to win the US Open. Its a good barometer.
     
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  20. drwood

    drwood Hall of Fame

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    Well, it proves that the French is the hardest for great all-court players to win, since most winners prior to Nadal and Fed did nothing in other slams.
     
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  21. scineram

    scineram Professional

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    Ferrero became number one then in fact.
     
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  22. Kostas

    Kostas Semi-Pro

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    Thanks for this thread guys...was a really interesting read.
     
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  23. drwood

    drwood Hall of Fame

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    Based on this thread, I'm liking Delpo's chances of becoming #1 before the end of next year :).
     
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  24. Blinkism

    Blinkism Legend

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    1984 would have been a good place to start, then. That would be 25 years ago.

    Also, notice how the Aussie Open + US Open have the highest rates of #1's as Champions, and how those 2 tourney's are on HC's (Aussie since 1988) and most tournaments are on hardcourts.
     
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  25. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Nobody has yet beaten the record of 5 US Open wins by Jimmy Connors:)

    Will this record ever be beaten?
     
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  26. drwood

    drwood Hall of Fame

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    Of course -- by Federer. And Connors only won 3 of those 5 on hard courts.

    Now Federer's winning 5 US Opens IN A ROW? That will never be beaten.
     
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  27. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Federer Sampras


    Sampras won 5 also, Federer 5 in a row. Federer I am hoping will get one more at least. Be good if he could get the all time record of 8 but that is probably a bit much to ask.
     
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